He was 14 at the time of the September 11th attacks, probably unaware that merely 5 years later he would be responsible for finding one of the most controversial developments in the nation.
According to reports published in the New York Daily News today, Francisco Patino was working for developer Sharif El-Gamal to help research and find an appropriate location for the Park51 development.
“I told him to go out and find available buildings for the project, and he did. He’s a phenomenal kid,” Gamal is quoted in the same article,Â “We were looking at buildings all over the area. I liked a lot of them but this was the one we ended up on. It was just meant to be.”
Patino, 23, currently works at Chase Manhattan Bank and has gained notoriety as a contestant on “American Inventor” a popular TV show that aired in 2006.
The article also mentions, “Patino was barely a man in 2006 and had only come to this country when he was 12. No young newcomer could be expected to understand the sensitivities beneath the contradictions.”
Protests were inevitable, once plans for The Cordoba House Initiative were made public. The building of a mosque near the World Trade Center site was bound to cause public outcry and controversy.
That being said, who could have predicted that more than 73% of all Staten Islanders would be opposed?! Better yet, more than half of all New York voters polled in a recent Quinnipiac University poll were found to be opposed to the building of the Cordoba House in Lower Manhattan.
The Cordoba House Initiative includes plans to build a 13-floor Muslim institute which will include a mosque and community center only 600 feet from Ground Zero.
Politicians better listen up to these findings considering that the anniversary of September 11th will always precede Election Day. It would be smart to heed the concerns of over half of New York City voters.
Currently, the only thing standing in the way of the greenlight for the Cordoba house is passing approval from The Landmarks Preservation Commission who are scheduled to vote on the project later this month.
According to other information gleaned from this poll:
-55% of New Yorkers polled said “mainstream Islam” is a “peaceful religion” compared to 22% who found that Islamic beliefs “encourage violence against non-muslims.”
-73% of Staten Islanders polled opposed the building, versus 14% in support of the Mosque.
-46% of Manhattan voters were in support of the bulding, versus the 36% opposed.
-1,183 registered voters were polled between June 21 to June 28
-The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
How do you feel about the Cordoba House initiative?